CLEARWATER, FL – An impressive group of newcomers made an immediate impact for Florida Southern in its season opener Friday night at the Eckerd College Invitational, but the old-timers (relatively speaking) made their presence felt as well. Behind a 4-hit shutout by freshman Kristen Beacham, two hits apiece from junior college transfers Shannon Bell and Desirae Klumpp, and two hits and two RBI from sophomore Jessica Trana, the Moccasins started 2017 with a 6-0 win over Chadron State.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Beacham gave up two singles in the top of the first inning, but sophomore catcher Zierra Flodman erased the first one by throwing out Courtney Lecher attempting to steal. Beacham then got a chopper back to the circle for the second out and after giving up a single to Lindsey Karlin, she notched her first career strikeout against Zoe Humphries to end the inning.
- The Moccasins matched the Eagles with two hits in the bottom of the first but turned theirs into a run. Bell and Klumpp, batting in the top two spots in the lineup, started the game for the Mocs with back-to-back singles, Bell on the second pitch she saw and Klumpp on the first. Bell was able to take second on an outfield error on the ball she hit, and Klumpp's hit came on a bunt. That put runners at the corners for senior Erica Morrissey who hit a line drive into center that was deep enough to score Bell with the first run of the game.
- Beacham continued to get help from her defense when needed and added to her strikeout total over the next two innings while protecting the 1-0 lead. In the top of the second, after hitting Morgan Wilhelm with a pitch, Beacham struck out Aspen Eubanks for the final out. In the top of the third, after an error put the leadoff batter on base, sophomore shortstop Makayla Deuberry teamed up with fifth-year senior second baseman Leah Pemberton for a double play and Beacham again ended the inning with another strikeout.
- The Moccasins erupted for four runs in the bottom of the third when they picked up six hits with sophomore Annemarie Tracey starting the inning with an infield single. Bell immediately brought her home with a line drive double to left center, and after another single by Klumpp, sophomore Jessica Trana brought home two more runs with a single to center. A sacrifice fly by Flodman later in the inning made it 5-0.
- Florida Southern's final run came in the bottom of the fifth when Trana singled and took second on an error, and Pemberton brought her in with a single to left center.
- Beacham finished the game with a 1-2-3 seventh, picking up two more strikeouts to finish the night with seven. In addition to her four hits allowed, she issued one walk and hit a batter in her college debut. She threw 91 pitches.
- Chadron State's Kinsley Mason also pitched a complete game, but the Moccasins got to her for 10 hits and a pair of walks. Only three of the six runs against her were earned, however, and Mason added three strikeouts.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Beacham is the first freshman pitcher to start a season opener for Florida Southern in at least 20 years. Further research is in order to determine if in fact she is the first in the Moccasins' 36-year history of softball.
- The last freshman to pitch a complete game shutout in her first career start was Liana Derringer on March 9, 2011. Derringer allowed four hits and two walks in a 2-0 win at Warner that day but had already appeared in five games as a relief pitcher, one of which she won.
- The Moccasins had their first season-opening shutout since 2010 when they beat Northwood (FL) 3-0. That was also the last time they scored in the first inning of a season opener.
- Pemberton was returning to the lineup for the first time since April of 2015. A Second Team All-SSC selection that year, she redshirted last year and is playing this year as a graduate student. Pemberton hit the ball hard in her first at-bat but grounded out to short before picking up hits in her final two at-bats, one of them the RBI single in the fifth. She also made a nice back-hand stop on a ball hit by Morgan Wilhelm in the top of the fifth and got the out at first.
- Every player in the lineup had either a hit, a walk, or an RBI, including Alex Mace, another freshman who was the Moccasins' designated player Friday night.
- Bell and Klumpp each had two hits in their Florida Southern debut after playing as teammates for Hillsborough Community College the last two seasons.
- Trana reached base in all three of her plate appearances with a walk in the first inning prior to her two hits.
- Florida Southern will play two games on Saturday at the Eckerd College Invitational, both of them non-conference games against SSC teams. The Moccasins will face Eckerd at 11 a.m., and 17th-ranked Saint Leo at 4 p.m.